Is the Darfur war really over?

It is amusing to note how influential people, serving in regions where there is war, always strive for that punchy statement just as they are about to leave office. As though they will somehow be remembered for it, after they have gone.

In terms of Martin Luther Agwai, outgoing UNAMID military commander, it was an ill-advised proclamation that the war in Darfur is over. He also said some other stuff, justifying his statement that the war is over (he was trying to distinguish between “war” and “conflict”), but inevitably it was his rather over-zealous statement that the war in Darfur is over that was picked up by the equally over-zealous press.

Agwai’s comments were also disingenuous for anoter reason, since he seems to believe that one of the main reasons the war has ended is because the rebel groups who have been waging this war are so splintered that only the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) is really capable of sustaining such war.

Agwai might like to refresh his knowledge of the UN’s position in the region, by going over past interviews and observe how frantically policymakers have been trying to get the rebel groups to unite, so that they can have a proper dialogue with them.

And Agwai is now suggesting it is a good idea that they are splintered?

Maybe the different factions of the UN in Sudan could start talking to one another a bit more.

Maybe it does all boil down to what is war and what is conflict. Perhaps the war really is over because the groups have splintered into so many different factions that they can’t possibly be expect to sustain hostilities against Khartoum (Prsident al-Bashir must be beaming with happiness).

But the splintering of rebel groups, with no centralised figure controlling them, is arguably even more dangerous. Here we are entering realms of true lawlessness, where the braying hounds cannot be easily brought to bare.

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